Zack is playing several times a week, either in lessons or with me at the rink. It’s pretty cool that he’s so into hockey. He literally wakes up and checks NHL Game Center to see the scores and highlights. Wild.
And hockey fever has filtered down to Zoe too. In fact, in ballet the other day, her teacher asked all the little girls what they wish for. Most responses were “fairies” or “princesses,” but Zoe said she wished for “hockey.” She should have been a little more specific and wished for a Stanley Cup for the Capitals…but we’ll see. It’s playoff time again and I’m excited—especially with the Caps taking the first round. YES!!
Before I dig back into my hockey blogs, there are a few interesting topics to talk about…
Re-Inventing What Business You’re Really In
I’m always fascinated by companies that took unique twists on somewhat mundane businesses and totally re-invented what they do. Or in some cases, created models out of thin air that worked incredibly well. So let’s take a little tour together…
What screams “mundane” more than a pizza shop, right? I was introduced to Diana Coutu, of Diana’s Gourmet Pizzeria, in Winnipeg by Dan Kennedy. Diana definitely sets her own rules and does things other pizza places would never consider—but this is what makes them special and very profitable. First off, she charges a seemingly outrageous amount for the pizzas. A large might go for $28 and up…way more than your local pizza shop selling 2-for-1’s. In fact, on the site there is a great FAQ about 2-for-1 deals:
Why aren’t you 2 for 1?We don’t get ‘2 for 1’ cases of cheese, nor ‘2 for 1’ cases pepperoni, chicken, lean beef, crushed tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc, etc, etc. We also don’t get ‘2 for 1’ staff members (I do believe that’s illegal in this country), nor are our utilities billed at a ‘2 for 1’ rate, nor does our landlord, (as wonderful as he is) give us ‘2 for 1’ on the rent.
Sales have never been higher, plus Diana has instituted all kinds of other innovations unheard of in a pizzeria, including adding a membership component, in which members are charged every month for her gourmet pizza. Creating a membership like that gives you a predictable cash flow each month, and insulates you from coupon-hawking competitors.
Now let’s move from food to starving artists. (Ha…get it? <insert groan here>)
Owen Garratt is a pencil artist from Alberta, Canada—also known as the “Pencil Neck.” (You can check him out at pencilneck.com) Being an artist doesn’t mean you need to subject yourself to the same industry norms and dogma others adhere to. In fact, it’s pretty tough to rely on others (i.e. gallery owners) to herald you as the “next big thing” and air kiss your way to stardom, fortune and fame. Screw that!
Owen decided he liked to eat, and literally went out one day selling his artwork door-to-door to different companies. Instead of selling his work as fine art, he would sell it as corporate gifts for companies to send out, use as a prizes, sales awards, etc. This was a big breakthrough and part of the reinvention. Not only did he decide to sell direct, but by selling to businesses he was able to sell several prints at once.
He does a great job listing a number of scenarios of how you can use his prints, and why you save by buying multiple copies of the prints at once. Plus, he even gives you the final benefit of getting to keep the original, which otherwise would sell for thousands. Smart moves.
Then it struck him: He decided to create a yearly allotment of 12 (minimum) framed prints each month, which companies could take for the year at a deep discount. This morphed into his Platinum VIP Program. Now who the hell sells art on membership? The Pencil Neck does—and it’s yet another re-invention point.
Owen does a lot of things really well and I’d imagine a lot of “real” artists are miffed at him because he doesn’t follow the rules. I love it!
The next example is a re-invention that cannot happen without the Internet, and I have a soft spot for them because they’re an awesome partner of Maverick too. Hendricks Park is total re-invention of the way men shop.
Hendricks Park is like a bit of a personal shopper mixed with personal stylist—with a little Zappos DNA too. You have a box put together for you by your stylist, and then it arrives at your door. You open it up with the your stylist via video Skype. It’s a great way to virtually model your clothes for the stylist and decide what works and what doesn’t. Then the pieces of clothing you don’t like get sent back via a pre-paid shipping label (hence the Zappos part).
The cool part about this is really it couldn’t happen this way without the technology available now. Of course, there’s been plenty of ”personal shoppers” before, but these require a guy’s time, or you just have to trust your shopper with your money. Hendricks Park is a great use of Skype and really invents this model.
Another good example of using Skype, which makes the experience even better than the original model, is a site called VerbalPlanet.com. Verbal Planet matches up native speakers with foreign language students via Skype. This makes the experience even better for both parties, since teachers can set up lessons from the comfort of their home and the pupils can do the same. Plus, they get the opportunity to interact and converse with real native speakers, instead of just listening to recordings and hoping they’re getting it right.
In summary: Right now is the best time ever to consider what industry or marketplace you can disrupt and make your own rules.
Speaking of disruption—there are a couple big things going over here at Maverick HQ that you should mark your calendars for:
For starters is our first-ever Maverick 4th of July Family Entrepreneurship Event, going on this July 1 – 5, 2011 in Park City, Utah.With Special Guest Richard Eyre, New York Times best-selling author (along with his wife Linda) of numerous work/family balance and parenting books. Richard and Linda are widely hailed as the premier experts in helping parents raise independent and entrepreneurial children. During our interactive workshop, Maverick members will get a special preview of their next upcoming book, “The Entitlement Trap.”
For the first time ever, you can bring the whole Maverick family together over the Independence Day weekend, to inspire, motivate, educate and build your family’s entrepreneurial spirit. You’ll experience totally unique family summer adventures and entrepreneurial activities for all ages…and come back with a lifetime of inspiration and memories.
Children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. are all invited for this fun, life-changing event. There will be unique business and thinking sessions for two different age groups (ages 6 – 12 and ages 13 – 23), tailored to their interests and comprehension level. I’m really excited to have my friends, brothers Adam and Matthew Toren, authors of Kidpreneurs, coming to run the sessions for the 6 – 12 year olds.
Best of all: During the event, all of the young entrepreneurs will break into groups, and be challenged to create real businesses on-the-fly! Each group will receive a business idea to run with, refine and develop. Then, during 4th of July festivities, they’ll actually go out on the streets to see who can sell the most.
While the young entrepreneurs are working on their ideas, there will be special sessions for Maverick members (led by our expert, Richard Eyre) on how to raise more independent and entrepreneurial children while avoiding the “Entitlement Trap.”
Now of course since this is a Maverick adventure, it’s definitely not all “work.” At the Olympic Park, we’ll have special access to the summer bobsleds, zip lines and alpine slide. Plus, there’s the famous 4th of July parade and much more.
Check out the full details at: www.MaverickBusinessAdventures.com/family
AND—you definitely need to mark your calendar for another “first”…
Maverick M3 Summit: Make More | More Fun | Give More
December 8th & 9th 2011
This is the biggest and boldest Maverick1000 gathering of the year, with all M1000 members coming together in one place. Hurl yourself into totally unique, high-impact Maverick bonding, business-building and adventures:
- Meet and connect with Maverick1000 members from all over the globe
- Guest Maverick Icons, sharing candid and insightful conversations
- Your fellow Mavericks revealing their biggest ideas and strategies—while competing for fun and possibly silly prizes…
Just some of the action you can expect includes…
- Miami Vice Poker Run & Adventure
Rocket across the blue Miami waves in an action-packed race, Crocket and Tubs style…
- “Maverick Upstart” Young Entrepreneur Pitches
Make a lasting impact on young entrepreneurs as they pitch their best business ideas to you, “Dragon’s Den” or “Shark Tank” style…
- Maverick Green-Tie Gala Celebration
- VIP Maverick Mayhem Parties…and more!
Don’t miss this incredible event — included in your Maverick1000 membership. (The Maverick M3 Summit would be a $5,000+ event IF we sold it. But we’re not. You’re covered. So save the date and get ready!)